The project ends with very positive achievements in the inclusion of people with disabilities, presented at several closing events
In 2017, the Bridging the Gap II project was launched as a flagship initiative from the European Union in relation to the inclusion of people with disabilities in international cooperation. The project has supported the practical application of a human rights-based approach and the consideration of disability as a cross-cutting issue in all cooperation frameworks, policies, programmes, projects and initiatives.
In these four years, Bridging the Gap II (BtG II) has contributed to achieving SDG targets in five low- and middle-income countries (Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Sudan), by making an impact on the global agenda.
In recent weeks, different closing events have been held in order to discuss the contribution BtG II and its FIIAPP-led consortium has made as well as to capitalise on the results of the project and ensure they are sustainable.
On 8 and 9 June, BtG II held an online technical workshop and a Political Dialogue Conference entitled “Including Disability in Development Cooperation -The Way Forward” in order to contribute to the current debate on inclusive development regarding disability through the exchange of experiences and knowledge relating to an inclusion that is in line with international provisions on disability.
The event highlighted the contribution made by BtG II to mainstreaming disability in the work undertaken by its partners. Those taking part have insisted that after BtG II, the next step to take in order not to lose its legacy would be to have a European roadmap capable of guiding the efforts of its Member States in terms of common policies and practices. They emphasised how important it is that the European Union, its Member States and their respective development agencies implement and promote inclusive and accessible international development policies and programmes for people with disabilities.
Peggy Martinello, the director of the Public Administration and Social Affairs area at FIIAPP, highlighted that the project has represented a watershed in FIIAPP’s work for the protection and promotion of the rights of people with disabilities, while other speakers stressed the value of the project going forward, underlining the importance of European leadership on the issue.
The final closing event was held on 14 June as a parallel event within the framework of the 14th Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP14). The event “Beyond Bridging the Gap: From Inclusive Policies to Inclusion in the Community” consisted of a discussion of the results obtained by the different institutional representatives, organisations working with people with disabilities and final beneficiaries in the project’s five partner countries.
The four years of the project have translated into highly positive results not only in terms of disability, but also regarding gender equality. These results are proof that BtG II, its work and achievements will endure in the fight for the inclusion of people with disabilities.